New awards for MLBEX competition

By Terry Villeneuve

There are big changes coming to this year’s Meadow Lake Business Excellence Awards program, which the organizing group is excited about.

“I think it’s going to be great,” said Lori Thompson, the administrator for the Meadow Lake & District Chamber of Commerce.

What’s new is the Community Builders Wall of Fame.

“This idea has been in the works for about a year and what we want to do is celebrate the many people who have made such a positive influence to Meadow Lake – our most distinguished citizens and outstanding individuals.”

Thompson noted the nomination criteria for the award is straightforward in that the person must have a minimum 10 years of community service to the area, must have been a resident of Meadow Lake or surrounding district, and can be living or deceased.

“This year, we’re thinking about inducting four or five just to get it started,” she said. “And every year thereafter, the executive is thinking about selecting one person to the wall of fame. We’re starting with a list and asking people to give us names. We’ll do some research on them, get their history and I think eventually everybody will be recognized, just not all in the first year.”

Another change to the upcoming 6th annual MLBEX awards, scheduled for March 14, is the addition of sector business categories.

“There’s so many businesses that don’t get any recognition. It’s normally the retail sector and the same businesses get recognized all the time,” Thompson said, adding the Chamber is looking at wanting to highlight two sectoral business categories every year.

“This year we’ve chosen Aboriginal Business of the Year and Hospitality/Tourism Business of the Year,” Thompson said. “In future years we might include, say, building suppliers or auto body shops. Things like that, just to bring attention to some of the businesses that get overlooked.”

The other awards to be handed out include: Business of the Year, Customer Service of the Year, Volunteer of the Year 2011 and Home Based Business of the Year.

Thompson said the group plans to keep these as their core awards and then change up the two sectoral awards every year.

“Maybe the Rookie Business of the Year award will come back in later years,” she added.

Nominations are now open for the awards and the judging will again be done locally.

“For sure they’ll be impartial,” said Thompson. “We have one retired businessperson who selects a team of three people – and we don’t know who they are.”

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